Classical Composition V: Common Topic – Student Guide

By: Jim Selby


As your student progresses, the fifth stage in the Classical Composition program is Common Topic. The set of exercises in Common Topic are more difficult to categorize by modern composition theory, but would likely fall under the descriptive essay.

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Product Description


The students are learning how to amplify evil attributes. They will use all of the previous skills learned in the exercises—narrative, expository, and argumentative—but must now apply those skills in a more creative and natural way than the previous stages. The Common Topic exercises look more like an “essay.”

What if you could teach your child using the same writing program that produced such masters of the language as John Milton, William Shakespeare, and Benjamin Franklin? What if you could have the same composition curriculum used by Quintilian, the greatest teacher of ancient rhetoric, and Cicero, the greatest persuasive speaker of all time?

Jim Selby has blown the dust off the writing curriculum that was used in schools for over 1,500 years and put it in an easy-to-teach format that will revolutionize your home or private school curriculum. Presented clearly and systematically in a structured curriculum, Classical Composition will give you a clear road map to writing excellence.

Ancient writers invented a way of teaching writing known as the progymnasmata, which provided a method of teaching composition that not only taught budding writers a disciplined way to approach communication, but also helped them appeal to the heads of their audience. The progymnasmata gave them the stylistic tools to appeal to their hearts as well.

The greatest communicators of ancient times, Quintilian and Cicero among them, employed the progymnasmata to teach their students the art of communication. The 14 exercises, organized from the simplest and most basic to the most complex and sophisticated, were the core education of a classical speaker, designed to produce what Quintilian once called “the good man, speaking well.”

Companion Products

Classical Composition V: Common Topic – Student Guide
Classical Composition V: Common Topic – Teacher Guide (Second Edition)
Classical Composition V: Common Topic – Instructional DVDs
Classical Composition V: Common Topic – Lesson Plans

Additional Information

Weight.32 kg
Dimensions11 × 8.5 × .5 in


Published Date



Jim Selby


Memoria Press




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